Plastic baby bottles are the ultimate lifesaver for any mom or dad out there. Not only are they affordable, easy to clean, and can be found anywhere; but most plastic baby bottles come with engraved markings to help moms and dads easily measure the right amount of baby formula for their bundles of joy.
As a parent, you might wonder if you can microwave a plastic baby bottle. It’s quite understandable, your baby wants milk or formula – and they don’t schedule their orders, they want it now, preferably warm.
Well, but can you microwave plastic baby bottles? Whether it’s safe or advisable, is another matter altogether.
Read on to find out more about this, because your baby deserves the best!
Is microwaving plastic baby bottles safe?
Microwaving plastic baby bottles is not safe, and is not encouraged or advised. It is arguable that microwaving takes up less time to cook or reheat food compared to other forms like using conventional ovens, stovetop cookers etc.
It is also a fact that cooking food destroys some nutrients, and the more time it takes to cook food or reheat it, the more proteins are denatured and important nutrients destroyed in the food. Therefore, microwaving destroys less nutrients in the food compared to say cooking or reheating food on stovetop or even in a conventional oven since it takes little time to cook or reheat food.
So what makes microwaving plastic baby bottles not safe?
There are two main reasons: Uneven distribution of heat when microwaving, and the risk of having micro plastics, BPA and dioxins leach into the baby’s food.
1. Uneven distribution of heat when microwaving
A microwave works by producing microwaves using the magnetron. These microwaves then go through the food and excite water molecules in the food causing the water molecules to vibrate at a higher rate.
This increased vibration then causes increased temperature for the molecules which conduct the heat to nearby molecules and after a while the water molecules turn to steam and escape from the food, or whatever is being microwaved.
This is the major difference between microwave ovens and say conventional ovens or stovetop cookers. With conventional ovens and stove top cookers, food being cooked or heated starts cooking from outside or the point where it faces direct heat. As for microwave ovens, the food cooks or heats up from the inside first then the heat is conducted outwards.
This happens with milk or baby formula too.
The outer layers may seem cool, but the inner layers could be extremely hot. These hot layers are sometimes referred to as hotspots and most of the time most people don’t notice this.
Giving your baby microwaved baby formula or milk may cause scalding in your baby’s mouth, and we don’t want that to happen.
2. Risk of micro plastics, BPA and into baby’s food
Micro plastics are tiny pieces of plastic that flake from plastic appliances due to normal wear and tear even with microwave safe and BPA free utensils. However, plastic appliances that get exposed to high temperatures tend to produce more micro plastics.
Adding onto the risk of knock-off brands labelling plastic baby bottles as microwave safe and BPA free; there is no reason why you should microwave plastic baby bottles.
Despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) claiming that studies suggest micro plastics do not endanger human beings, you still have a responsibility to ensure your baby gets nothing but the best.
How can I warm up my baby’s bottle?
There are two major ways to warm up your baby’s bottle aside from microwaving:
1. Using a bottle warmer
There are various bottle warmers suited to different baby bottles. Using the manufacturer’s specifications as a guide, select the best bottle warmer for your baby bottle and follow the instructions that come with the bottle warmer to warm your baby’s bottle
2. Using slightly hot water
You can place the sealed baby’s bottle in a dish full of hot water and let the bottle warm up slowly, or you can put your baby’s bottle under hot running water for a while until the bottle warms up a bit.
Pour a bit of the milk on your wrist to get a feel of the milk or formula’s temperature. Ensure the milk or formula is warm enough but not too hot for your baby, i.e. when you pour the warmed milk on your wrist it shouldn’t feel any warmer or colder than your body temperature.
Faqs About Microwaving Plastic Baby Bottle
Is it safe to put a plastic baby bottle in the microwave?
Yes, it is safe to put a plastic baby bottle in the microwave provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and the manufacturer has labelled the bottle as microwave safe and BPA free.
This is because microwave safe plastic baby bottles are specially designed with increased heat tolerance so the plastic baby bottle won’t melt in the microwave. Additionally, with BPA free plastic baby bottles don’t have to worry about any toxic plastic chemicals leaching into your baby’s food.
Can you heat up baby bottles in the microwave?
Yes, you can heat up baby bottles in the microwave, however this is not encouraged because of the reasons stated below.
Some baby bottles may not be microwave safe, or some may not be BPA free. When such bottles are heated up in a microwave, toxic chemicals may be released and leach into baby’s food. Additionally, heat is not spread evenly in a microwave and while you might feel the milk or formula is at the right temperature, it may have hotspots which may scald your baby’s mouth, something you wouldn’t want.
Besides, milk or formula for babies just need to be at or close to room temperature, and there are better ways to heat up your baby bottles safely.
Can you warm plastic baby bottles?
Yes, you can warm plastic baby bottles.
There are different ways you can do this such as: using a bottle warmer to warm your plastic baby bottles, putting your plastic baby bottles in a pan full of hot water, or even placing your plastic baby bottle below a hot stream of water until the bottle warms up. You can microwave plastic baby bottles, however they have to be designated as microwave safe and BPA free by their manufacturer.
Are microwave bottle steamers safe?
Yes, microwave bottle steamers are safe.
Using steam, microwave bottle steamers reach and sterilise parts of the bottle that a brush couldn’t reach during the initial cleaning. However, microwave bottle steamers are only safe provided microwave safe and BPA free bottles are used in the microwave bottle steamer. Additionally, to ensure safety, manufacturers specifications and instructions have to be followed strictly.
How long do you sterilise baby bottles in the microwave?
At least 90 seconds when using a microwave steriliser and two minutes when sterilising baby bottles using only steam in a microwave.
In both scenarios, the microwave is set to maximum power or high heat setting.
Are Avent bottles microwave safe?
Yes, Avent bottles are microwave safe. The manufacturer assures that Avent bottles are microwave safe, and BPA free.
However, when using Avent bottles in the microwave the manufacturer recommends putting only the container in the microwave. The nipple and cap, screw ring and the Air Free vent are not to be used in the microwave.
Is sterilising plastic baby bottles safe?
Yes, sterilising plastic baby bottles is safe and is recommended.
This is because any leftover milk or formula in addition to saliva left on the bottle once the baby is done feeding presents favourable conditions for bacteria to flourish, and knowing that a baby’s immunity is not well developed at a tender age you may want to keep your baby safe. To avoid exposing your baby to these harmful bacteria you need to sterilise your plastic baby bottles after each use, and preferably before use.
However, due to concerns about micro plastics being released, you may want to first sterilise the plastic baby bottles in hot water and once this is done, rinse the plastic bottles in cold water for at least three cycles to wash off any micro plastics that may have been shed during sterilisation.
Does microwaving baby food destroy nutrients?
Yes, microwaving baby food destroys nutrients but the loss of nutrients is less compared to other forms of cooking or reheating.
This is because any form of cooking involves breaking down cell and tissue structures in the food. This also leads to changes in the chemical structure and even the nutrient found in food. Additionally, the longer it takes to cook or reheat food, the more nutrients are destroyed. Since microwaving food takes less time than you would say cooking or reheating food in a conventional oven, microwaving would destroy less nutrients than other forms of cooking or reheating.
Should I warm my new-born’s bottles?
No, you shouldn’t have to warm your new-born’s bottles.
It may sound controversial but babies do not care about this. Provided the milk or baby formula is at room or body temperature, your baby would drink up without a fuss. However, if the milk has been in the fridge, you’ll need to warm it up just enough to get it to room or body temperature. This is because breastmilk is usually at or slightly above body temperature, and at this temperature your baby can easily digest the milk or formula.
It is also advisable to prepare formula for your baby when they need it using warm water, and avoiding any storage and reheating of baby formula.
Are Tommee Tippee bottles microwave safe?
Yes, Tommee Tippee bottles are microwave safe.
The manufacturer Tommee Tippee claims that its baby bottle products are not just microwave safe but also BPA and dioxin free. So you can microwave Tommee Tippee bottles but ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
While you can microwave plastic baby bottles, this method has its risks. Not only do you have to be certain the plastic baby bottle is microwave safe and BPA free; but you also run the risk of hurting your baby with hotspots that may form in formula or milk that’s microwaved.
Your baby deserves the best and you should consider other relatively safe ways of warming up your baby’s plastic bottle like using a bottle warmer, or even warming your baby’s plastic bottles in a bowl of hot water.
Just remember to pour some of the warmed up milk on your wrist to ensure the milk isn’t too hot for your baby and that it is at just the right temperature.
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